A comment on Chait on Bain

Jonathan Chait argues both that the debate about Romney and Bain is idiotic and he participates in it. His contribution is definitely idiotic if he is right that the debate is stupid. It is also idiotic if it isn’t stupid, because he ignored what is true and what is false when writing about what is true and what is false. The problem is that he assumes that the Romney campaign told at most one lie and not an irrelevant lie to distract attention from publicly reported facts.

There is a big debate about whether Romney has any responsibility for things Bain did from February 11 1999 until 2002 — a period when he was sole shareholder, Chairman of the board, CEO and President. (many have remarked that Romney doesn’t really want to convince us that he believes that being President doesn’t involve taking any responsibility). There is much less debate about whether this is relevant to the Romney campaign’s claim that there is no evidence that Romney managed investment in outsourcers. But he did that well before 1999. One controversy has distracted Chait (among others) from a demonstrable flat out lie.

See also this post, an older post and a third post.

I lose it in comments on Chait.

I note that you equate “not proven” with false. Even if you are right that the Obama campaign can’t prove all of its claims beyond all doubt doesn’t mean that you should say their claims are false.

Notably, you argue that the debate about when Romney stopped managing Bain is a “nonsense argument” and then vigorously participate in that argument writing “Bain Capital did those things after Romney stopped running the company.”

No. You can claim that the topic is pointless nonsense or you can make a definite claim, but not both. You don’t like the Obama campaigns approach — pointless and false both feel bad, but you should be able to distinguish your feelings from your assessment of objective fact.

Also your claim of fact is unquestionably false. The reason is that, well before 1999, Bain invested in firms which offshored.

I quote from the un-retracted Washington Post story

“Bain’s foray into outsourcing began in 1993 when the private equity firm took a stake in Corporate Software Inc., or CSI, after helping to finance a $93 million buyout of the firm. CSI, which catered to technology companies like Microsoft, provided a range of services including outsourcing of customer support. Initially, CSI employed U.S. workers to provide these services but by the mid-1990s was setting up call centers outside the country.

Two years after Bain invested in the firm, CSI merged with another enterprise to form a new company called Stream International Inc. Stream immediately became active in the growing field of overseas calls centers. Bain was initially a minority shareholder in Stream and was active in running the company, providing “general executive and management services,” according to SEC filings.”

How do you reconcile these facts publicly reported in a not so obscure newspaper withh your claim that ” “Bain Capital did those things after Romney stopped running the company.” ? I ask for information and will interpret a failure to respond as a confession that this post is totally incorrect.

Look decide if you think a debate is pointless or if you are going to jump into it. Otherwise you make a fool of yourself as you did with this post.